DMEXCO 2018 proved to be another year of fruitful discussions. PubMatic sent a team of 23 senior execs and managers, from all regions, for in-person meetings, press interviews, product demos and networking.
As any veteran of the expo will know, many of the key themes come from the plethora of meetings packed into the two days. The key areas of discussion focused on transparency and trust, GDPR, header bidding and OTT/CTV video and audio.
Building Trust with Transparent Auction Dynamics
The conversation about transparency has shifted away from rates and fees to a deeper industry dialogue about how programmatic auctions work. Indeed, this was a key point in the panel our Chief Growth Officer, Founder and Chairman, Amar Goel, participated on from the main stage.
To increase transparency, and ultimately build trust within the digital supply chain, we heard buyers and publishers alike wondering how they can check if auctions are conducted fairly. There is also the added difficulty of navigating between first and second price auctions. Today, many publishers and ad tech partners (including PubMatic) have moved to first-price. However, Google Ad Manager (Ad Exchange) still operates second price-auctions. The questions about auction dynamics naturally dovetailed into conversations on fraud, quality, and ads.txt.
GDPR Looms Large
Even though it has been nearly four months since the GDPR went into effect, the regulation continues to be a topic of discussion for many of the DMEXCO attendees. Based on our conversations, some publishers have not yet fully implemented Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) despite the warnings and ad tech mandates. This is largely due to multiple frameworks for collecting consent, including Google’s delays in supporting the IAB framework, creating confusion.
Many publishers are working to scale the amount of consented impressions they send to their ad tech partners. With this focus, our conversations were dominated by discussing how to bring spend levels back up to pre-GDPR levels.
Header Bidding Broadens Its Footprint
App developers and publishers with in-app inventory are no longer waiting on the sidelines; they want to escape the waterfall and run unified/parallel auctions. By and large, app developers are looking to plug-in programmatic demand and move beyond traditional mediation. Further, publishers with video inventory are increasingly looking for video header bidding options.
We have also seen Google’s solution, Exchange Bidding (EB), continue to gain traction. Small to medium-sized publishers are going to EB first and then looking at how they can supplement it with client-side or server-to-server (S2S) wrappers. Alternatively, large publishers, who have already adopted wrapper solutions, are looking into how they can capture incremental spend with EB. However, while publishers are increasingly adopting EB, there is trepidation about getting deeper into Google’s ecosystem and relinquishing direct financial relationships with buyers to Google.
Industry Is Abuzz About New Programmatic Formats
Perhaps the biggest buzzwords from DMEXCO were over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV). Given the penetration of Smart TVs and streaming devices such as AndroidTV boxes, RoKu, Apple TV, and Chromecast, publishers and app developers have created a deluge of content for them. It’s early days, and while buyers and publishers are asking how to buy or sell OTT/CTV content, there is limited programmatic support.
Audio is another format publishers and app developers are investing in. Publishers with broadcast radio are also making the transmissions available online, on desktops and for mobile apps. While publishers are creating audio content, like podcasts, programmatic audio is still in a nascent stage, though advertisers are increasingly looking to reach these audiences. We expect a great deal of development in these areas in the coming months.
It was a pleasure to connect with our partners and prospective clients at DMEXCO 2018 this year. We look forward to a fruitful and very busy Q4. If you would like to connect with PubMatic at an upcoming event, make sure to schedule a meeting or contact us.